"This is the slowest time of my life. It's been kind of like waiting for Christmas. But I don't need any presents for Christmas. Just having it get here, and then getting on to West Virginia, is all I want."
Those are the words of Philadelphia's Chris Palmer, who clearly can't wait to get his Mountaineer career started. A member of the recruiting class of 2008, Palmer ended up grayshirting after injuries were discovered in both of his shoulders.
"I hut my shoulders in the 11th grade, and a doctor eventually told me that I had broken it but that it healed on its own. At the time, everyone was telling me that I just had a stinger, but I thought it hurt to much for that. When I went to the doctor, told me I had tears in my shoulders and about the break. They decided I needed to have surgery, so that's what ended up setting me back.
"I ended up having one surgery in January on one shoulder, then another one in May. I've been rehabbing them ever since, but after that I knew I wasn't going to be ready to play this year. The surgeries went well, and a lot of the pain is gone. I still feel a little bit of pain when I really push it on lifting weights, but I can feel myself getting stronger. I'm benching around 300 pounds now, and I'm working with the best trainer in Philadelphia."
That person is Tony Fulton, who runs Speed Intensified Training Systems, a quickly growing business in Philadelphia that caters to professional, college and high school athletes. Kadeem Custis, a senior offensive lineman at St John Neumann who is being recruited by West Virginia, is also being trained by Fulton. Fulton is helping oversee Palmer's recovery, and ensuring that he doesn't push his workouts to quickly. Palmer grades himself "at about 85%" right now, and thinks he will be ready to go for spring practice in 2009. However, he still has a couple of months to wait before he enrolls at WVU in January.
"It has been frustrating sitting out. This is about the toughest thing I have ever done. I wish I could be at West Virginia and helping my team, I've been lifting weights and trying to get ready, but it's been tough just watching and waiting."
The wait hasn't been totally without compensations, however. Palmer got to attend a World Series game recently, and had a rather unique vantage point.
"I worked security at the game on Monday night, and I was one of the people that had to control fans and help protect the news media," he explained. "You know how crazy the fans can be, so that was kind of wild. And then, the game got suspended because of the rain and the cold, so it was really a different experience. But it was cool to be able to see a World Series game."
Nowhere near as cool, however, as finally making it to West Virginia and joining his teammates for real. Palmer was in Morgantown for WVU's 34-17 thumping of Auburn, but he can't wait until he is part of it all.
"I am coming in January, and everything is good to go. I am 100% ready."